Taking Agriculture to New Heights

Taking Agriculture to New Heights

Farmer Derek Klingenberg made headlines this month by making “cow art” visible from space. 

A resident in Peabody, Kansas, Klingenberg had originally created aerial photography of his cow art using drones. A tech-savvy farmer, he’s got a little more than 72,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel and a host of aerial projects, including a video of catching a fish with a drone.

According to the MIT Technology Review, there are six possible uses for agricultural drones last summer: soil and field analysis, planting, crop spraying, crop monitoring, irrigation and crop health assessment. A Polish data agency thinks agriculture drone solutions to these problems is worth $32.4 billion. That’s a lot of money to be found in the skies, and a lot of room for investment for companies looking to combat climate change.

Resource management, a key part of the Roots in Drought grant, is a growing portion of agriculture research. Drones are the next part of learning to deal with climate change with technology.

This spring, the EU-funded SAGA will release a swarm of quadcopters over a sugar beet field to analyze weed distribution. This will help farmers determine how much fertilizer or pesticide is actually necessary to yield  a successful crop, and reduce the amount of chemicals put into the soil. Drones are also being used to detect the extent of chemical spills, manage wildfires and sense water stress. That’s perhaps a little fancier than catching a fish with a drone, but it might help farmers like Klingenberg adapt to the huge amount of change his business faces.

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